Social comparisons and contributions to online communities: A field experiment on MovieLens

Yan Chen, F. Maxwell Harper, Joseph Konstan, Sherry Xin Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

203 Scopus citations

Abstract

We design a field experiment to explore the use of social comparison to increase contributions to an online community. We find that, after receiving behavioral information about the median user's total number of movie ratings, users below the median demonstrate a 530 percent increase in the number of monthly movie ratings, while those above the median decrease their ratings by 62 percent. When given outcome information about the average user's net benefit score, above-average users mainly engage in activities that help others. Our findings suggest that effective personalized social information can increase the level of public goods provision.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1358-1398
Number of pages41
JournalAmerican Economic Review
Volume100
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2010

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